Airway epithelial cells play a major role in initiating inflammation in response to bacterial pathogens. S. aureus is an important pathogen associated with activation of diverse types of infection characterized by inflammation dominated by polymorphonuclear leukocytes. This bacterium frequently causes lung infection, which is attributed to virulence factors. Many of virulence determinants associated with S. aureus-mediated lung infection have been known for several years. In this paper, we discuss recent advances in our understanding of known virulence factors implicated in pneumonia. We anticipate that better understanding of novel functions of known virulence factors could open the way to regulate inflammatory reactions of the epithelium and to develop effective strategies to treat S. aureus-induced airway diseases.